Thursday, June 16, 2016

How About Freedom AND Safety?

I grew up in the Great North Woods and hunted from a young age. I learned early that some rights are contingent on responsibilities to safety. I own firearms…and I’m not trembling in my ammo can, fearing Obama’s coming to take them away. 

Many gun owners are really afraid of this false and manufactured “threat to freedom”. It is due to appeals to emotion, reinforced by political propaganda and corporate PR.

I’m very familiar with the gun debate and think I’m with the mainstream public on this. We don’t need AR15s and AK47s for sport or self defense. Weapons of modern warfare should have been restricted long ago. Actually they were once, then Bush let the restrictions expire.

I think new sales of weapons of war, as well as their large magazines, could be banned and not one American would be less free or less safe. We have a Second Amendment, yet we don’t arm psychotics, or have the right to machine guns, RPGs, and flame throwers. This is for good reason. It is a reasonable and sane point that we are all for some kind of gun control. It is a matter of degree.

For many, this reasoning doesn’t resonate well with such an emotional issue. Emotions can affect how we react to events and how we think of things. Reasonable discussion can be difficult if not impossible when emotions are involved. Extreme Ideologies prey on emotion, and allow only ideologically filtered information. 

Both freedom and safety are emotion-charged concepts.

I will attempt to appeal to reason and provide an alternative point of view on some points presented for consideration, and I will also offer appeals to emotion for perspective.

“What better incentive for  hastening of a tyrannical police state than a disarmed populace?”

Perhaps a better incentive for hastening for a police state would be a population of ill-informed souls conditioned by corporate media to never understand, or even be exposed to, the words 'Inverted Totalitarianism" and “Neo-liberalism”. They are engineering the demise of democracy and the entrenchment of unchecked economic political power. Educate yourself on these terms, and you’ll understand what I’m saying.

The previous Republican Administration has proven the government can get away with a war of aggression, mass surveillance, torture, and indefinite detention without charges. Let’s also remember that just before the invasion of Iraq 70% of Americans falsely believed Saddam was an ally of al-Qaeda and involved in 9-11. 

Americans believed Saddam had aluminum tubes for a nuclear weapons program, "biological labs", stockpiles of WMDs, and other falsehoods 

Corporate media wasn't interested in dissenting voices. Relatively few were allowed. The New York Times and Washington Post, along with CNN and FOX "News" simply parroted the claims of Cheney and other Neocons.

Corporate media programming and manipulation, lack of public interest and involvement, and our easy acceptance of propaganda are how we become intellectually disarmed for tyranny.

BTW German civilians in the 1930s had guns. Seems gun owners had no problem when they were pro-police.

It is a fair claim that Americans are uneducated on our history and Constitution.

I would be careful of demeaning others’ “lack of understanding the Second Amendment”. There is no one indisputable “understanding” of the Second Amendment. Beware the ideologues who tell you otherwise. The founders didn’t say it was for armed rebellion if your party lost an election. It might just be about the outdated militias. See what I mean? The same applies to much of the rest of the Constitution.

We were a free society before AR15s. We would still be as free without them. They do not grant, bestow or assure freedom. The Bill of Rights does.

I don’t understand how innocent humans being slaughtered is an acceptable “price of freedom” for grown men wanting to play soldier or militia. I know a lot of these guys, and they are misinformed and afraid. And someone profits from misinforming them and fueling their fear. They respond to appeals to emotions wrapped in words like freedom, liberty, and patriotism.

It’s too late to undo the harm, and future harm, from military style weapons in circulation. The bloody epidemic of weapons of war has been unleashed and will only grow worse if no action is taken. The more weapons of war in society, the more piles of bodies. See Aurora Colorado, See Newtown. See Orlando. See San Bernardino. See Iraq. 

But it's getting better, so we don't need more gun laws, some say.

“Gun violence has fallen dramatically since the '90's (Firearm-related homicides dropped from 18,253 homicides in 1993 to 11,101 in 2011)”

Yes, the overall firearm homicide rate is down, largely because the crack epidemic subsided and the 18-24 year old population bracket has shrunk.

What else has changed? 

The number of mass killings by semi-automatic rifles has risen. Like it or not, the NRA has made it easier for terrorists to buy weapons of mass murder. 

Someone profits from this slaughter. (Blatant appeal to emotion.)

“So taking all of that into consideration, (Firearm homicide rate lower than death by auto, tobacco, alcohol, etc) or please remind me why we need to start taking away people rights?”

As noted, see the right to shout “Fire!” in a crowded theatre. It is not taking away a right to employ reasonable limits, unless you want the right to shout “Fire”, and to have mortars and artillery. Again, we’re trying to be reasonable here.

BTW, Are not the victims and families really the ones who had their rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness taken away?  (Blatant appeal to emotion.)

“The gun wasn't the problem, it was the fault of a poor vetting system and the radical ideology of the shooter”

Of course the shooter was the problem, but, again, shall we ask the victims if the assault rifle was not a big part of the problem?  (Blatant appeal to emotion.)

“Every time something like this happens people stand on the graves of the victims and try to capitalize on tragedy and take away freedoms.”

I agree. 

Who really capitalizes?  That would be the NRA and the makers and sellers of AR15s. They are the ones who profit most after these horrible incidents. It can be argued that military style weapons in abundance make us less free, especially the victims. (Final blatant appeal to emotion.) 

There’s that “More than one understanding” thing again. 


Jefferson's Guardian said...

I truly don't know the answer to this, if even there is an equitable and reasonable one. Everything has become an appeal to emotion. The world of politics learned a valuable lesson from Madison Avenue, and it works. It works too well. So well, in fact, that the chance of creating a truly democratic (small "d") political system, where the people hash out the issues and arrive at well-informed decisions -- or as Sheldon Wolin referred to it in Democracy Incorporated, the "Demos" -- has undoubtedly passed us by.

As Wolin wrote in his magnificent book, we've become a "managed democracy" where inverted totalitarianism rules and diversion and no real interest in the "realpolitik" by the citizenry allows this to happen. If you haven't, read the book. We're in totalitarian times, that's for sure, it's just done differently than it was in Nazi Germany, fascist Italy, or Stalinist Russia.

We're in uncharted waters with inverted totalitarianism. Never in history has totalitarianism been so diffuse and without a real face. It claims no central authoritarian figure like a monarch or fuhrer. The power is diverse and interwoven, and hence almost hidden from view. It still emanates from above, but the "above" is propagated from seemingly a thousand-and-one sources.

Dave Dubya said...

The best that can be done is to stop the flow of new weapons. Clinton slowed them, but Bush opened the gates again. Most Americans support more restrictions, but this aint no democratic representative republic.

The Inverted Totalitarianism of the Neoliberal World Order has no issue with guns. The NRA is their ally. The owners are hidden and protected. Gun violence only allows them an excuse for expanding the police state.

Millions of semi-automatic weapons of war are in circulation in the US. Estimates are around 8 million large magazine capacity assault rifles that are in basements, under beds, and who knows where.

The gun owners feel a sense of freedom and safety with their weapons. It feels so good they feel threatened by any hint or rumor of gun control laws. When they feel threatened they feel anger.

Not a healthy mentality to mix with firearms. And out of that fear and anger they vote for the worst servants of the Neoliberal World Order.

What they can’t imagine is their "freedom" has led to a saturation of such weapons that cannot have good consequences in a society. If mass shootings grow more frequent, law enforcement will be forced to take greater measures. This is how real freedom disappears.

Only idiots and the deluded believe their pop guns will stave off the tyranny of the Neoliberal World Order. They probably still believe the UN and black helicopters are their enemy.

The irony beyond their comprehension is the fact that freedoms have withered as the guns have multiplied.

Jefferson's Guardian said...

Dave Dubya: "The irony beyond their comprehension is the fact that freedoms have withered as the guns have multiplied."

That certainly could be viewed that way. I believe most haven't a clue about lost freedoms ("rights"), nonetheless see boogeymen around every corner and Sharia law invading their town councils. Adding to the racist tilt, now, is Islamophobia -- thanks to George W. Bush, and although in a more muted way, continuing with Barack Obama.

Their guns provide solace, and an unwarranted sense of security, in a world turned upside down and a nation heading that way.

TOM said...

I might come back and give a long response, but I agree!